How do you tune out negative voices and live a life of true joy? Let’s face it…if you’re achieving anything in life, a large percentage of the voices you hear will be negative. So what do you do with them?
Gertrude Nonterah from Working Christian Mommy shared some great ideas with me recently that I wanted to pass on to you. I love Gertrude’s tagline on her site: On the path to living an unconventionally rich life. When you’re living an unconventionally rich life, the negative voices will come. Here’s what Gertrude had to say about them.
Some years ago, my mom decided she wanted to venture into entrepreneurship by opening a convenience store. It sounded like a great idea to her until she run it by a friend of hers. This friend told her how this was a terrible idea and that entrepreneurs never really make a profit and that her chances for failure were high.
A few months later, this same woman had started a convenience store just like the one my mom had described. Her store has actually gone on to become very successful. My mom? She decided not to run her ideas by people anymore. If she wanted to do something, she would venture out and take the chance. She was no longer going to allow the voices of other people to drown her dreams.
I was a teenager when this happened and in the years since, I’ve learned to do the same. And so can you.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you don’t listen to the advice of trusted mentors and people who are more experienced than you. But I find that people often have a negative outlook on just about anything you’re doing.
“Oh you’re a stay-at-home mom?” (Code for “You must be lazy. What do you do at home all day long ?”)
“Oh, so you work outside the home?” (Code for “How selfish of you to leave your little kids in the care of others”.)
“What, you’re getting a PhD? What are you going to do after that? Teach? You know teaching doesn’t really pay.”
(Insert exasperated sigh here)
There will always be critics
It took me a while, but I eventually have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter what you do or plan to do. It can be the best idea since Amazon or Facebook. If you decide to run it by different folks, you’re assured to receive some criticism about how bad of an idea your plan is.
A lot of you are nodding your heads right this second because you’ve encountered such individuals. In fact, some of us have abandoned dreams because of what other people have said to us.
“Nobody will pay you to do that.”
“Dreams are for the rich.” (or the young, the experienced, the men, the women, the single, the married, the )
Or my very personal favorite:
Receiving advice is wonderful. In fact, it’s foolish to be resistant to advice. Everybody needs a mentor (check out How to Find a Mentor) and there is good advice out there that will help you steer clear of the path that will lead to destruction. But when the voice of others is the reason that stands in your way of pursuing something that could be really good, it’s time to get selective and choose whom you’ll listen to.
It’s tough because sometimes it means that people, even those we love will get offended. Here’s how I’ve solved this problem for myself (it doesn’t mean I don’t come across negativity in my life. It just means I am slowly learning how to become immune to it.)
3 key attitudes to help you tune out negative voices
1. Everybody doesn’t need to know my business.
Once I have a conviction about something, and in my case prayed about it and sense that it is the right direction, I don’t try to run it by people to get their approval.
2. I don’t need everyone’s approval.
No matter what you do in this life, some people will approve of you. Others won’t. Stop living your life just so that you can be on everyone’s good side. In the long run, it doesn’t benefit anyone; especially you.
3. “What will I regret?”
In my mid-twenties, I decided I would live a life of no regrets. It wasn’t that I was going to do every wild thing I hadn’t done when I was a teenager. Instead, I will take steps of faith in the direction I desire to go and if I made mistakes along the way, I will simply rise up, brush myself off (maybe cry for a minute), learn my lesson and move on.
I ask myself “What will I regret if I don’t (or do) take this step?”
For some of us, this means we need to surround ourselves with people who are truly interested in our success. These are the people who will support us when we need it and give us constructive criticism when needed. These people are rare. But they do exist.
Related Post: This 1 Thing Will Silence Your Critics Forever
What decision have you taken and backed out on because you’ve listened to the voice of others? What will you differently now?